Shantiniketan is a small town near Bolpur in the Birbhum district of West Bengal and about 212 kms north of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). It was made famous by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, whose vision became what is now a university town – Visva-Bharati University. The place now attracts thousands of visitors each year. Shantiniketan was earlier called Bhnbandanga (named after Bhuban Dakat, a local dacoit), and was owned by the Tagore family. In 1862, Maharshi Debendranath Tagore, the poet’s father, while on a boat journey to Raipur, came across a landscape with red soil and lush green paddy fields. He decided to plant more saplings and built a small house. He called his home Shantiniketan, the abode of peace. He founded an Ashram here in 1863 and became the initiator of the Brahmo Samaj.
In 1901, Rabindranath started a school at Shatiniketan named Brahmachary Ashram that was modelled on the lines of the ancient gurukul system. After he received the Nobel Prize that enhanced not only the Pride of India but also the prestige of Shantiniketan, the school was expanded into a university. It was renamed Visva Bharati, which Tagore defined as “where the world makes a home in a nest.”
One of the most valued places in all of Santiniketan, Tagore's Aashram is located in the Uttrayan Complex. It is the place that Tagore's father first built when he arrived many years ago. He called his home Santiniketan, Abode of Peace. Later the entire region adopted this name. One has to walk through the area. Guides are generally available outside Uttarayan Complex/Rabindra Bhaban. You can also explore the region on your own as the area is pretty easy to navigate through.
The mela sees local artisans and tourists from all over the country coming together in this spirit of celebration. Folk dances, music, food and culture are in rampant display during these days. Santiniketan leather bags, earthen wares, paintings, etc are sold in this fair.
Shantiniketan Tourist Lodge
Shantiniketan Tourist Lodge run by West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. (03463-252398/252699), Mark & Meadows & other private hotels & resorts Shantiniketan Tourist Lodge run by West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation Ltd, Mark & Meadows & other private hotels & resorts.
This place was the meditation spot of Tagore's Father, Maharshi Debendranath Tagore. A scholar himself, he advocated meditation and introspection as the keys to success and world progress.
Located near Sriniketan, 3 kms from Shantiniketan, the Ballabhpur Wildlife Sanctuary which is popular as Deer Park established in 1977. Originally, the area was a fast eroding `Khowai'. It is now a large wooded area with herds of deer and makes a natural bird sanctuary.
How to reach
Located near Sriniketan, 3 kms from Shantiniketan.
The Uttarayan complex where the poet lived consists of several buildings such as Udayana, Konark, Shyamali, Punascha, and Udichi, which reflect the architectural genius of the poet’s illustrious son the late Rathindranath Tagore.
Kala Bhavana is a noted institution of education and research in visual arts, founded in 1919, it is the fine arts faculty of the Visva-Bharati University, Shantiniketan, established by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
How to reach
Air Service: The nearest airport is Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose international airport, which is located at Kolkata.
By Road: Well connected with Kolkata (212 kms).
By Train: The nearest railhead is Bolpur, 2 kms away from Shantiniketan. Trains connect Bolpur with Howrah / Sealdah (Kolkata).